Before Nori Aoki stepped into the batter’s box for the San Francisco Giants against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Opening Day, the defending World Series champions received some troubling news concerning two-fifths of their starting pitching rotation.
Right-hander Jake Peavy, who was scheduled to start the second game of the season for the Giants has already been scratched from his first start with back stiffness. In place of Peavy, San Francisco Manager Bruce Bochy will tab Ryan Vogelsong to oppose the Diamondbacks.
Vogelsong entered spring training in a battle with incumbent Tim Lincecum and playoff standout Yusmiero Petit for the fifth spot in the Giants’ starting rotation. He struggled during spring, posting a 6.45 ERA during his 22.1 innings of work. Vogelsong’s struggles left Bochy no other choice but to select Lincecum for the final spot in the rotation.
While it was believed that Petit had a chance to earn a spot in the rotation entering spring, things apparently have changed since the 25-man roster was settled. Bochy recently said that he would rather keep Petit in his long-relief role instead of moving him into the rotation.
Expectations for Peavy’s return could be this weekend against his former team the San Diego Padres.
While Peavy missing his start is cause for concern, what the San Francisco organization may be fretting most is tightness in Matt Cain‘s right forearm. The talented right-hander, who has been a workhorse for the Giants, missed a significant amount of 2014 after having season-ending surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow.
After having the bone chips removed, Cain also had bone spurs removed from his right ankle.
Entering spring training, San Francisco was hoping for a bounce-back year from Cain, who played a prominent role during the Giants first two World Series titles. It appeared early on in spring that Cain was on track to return to form, throwing the ball with an effortless pain free motion.
Cain is slated to start the third game of the season for San Francisco, but recently Cain felt discomfort and the Giants have scheduled an MRI on the hurler as a precautionary maneuver.
“We’re just being cautious here,” said Bochy.
Come Wednesday, if Cain is unable to make his slated start, Lincecum will slide into his place. If Cain needs to be placed on the disabled list, San Francisco could call-up Chris Heston, who impressed during spring training.
The Giants, who are hoping to contend for their fourth World Series title in six years, will need Peavy and Cain to be healthy and successful during 2015.